Southeast Florida Roundup
Development bounces back in southeast Florida
Later this year, Miamibased Florida East Coast Realty, the company of longtime developer Tibor Hollo, hopes to begin construction on a 24-story, 297-unit luxury rental apartment tower in Hallandale Beach.
Named for the man Henry Flagler recruited to start a Swedish farming settlement to the south of Danish-settlement Dania Beach, Hallandale is perhaps best known for its horse track, Gulfstream Park. Development in the city fell off in the recession but is back in force, fed in part by demand from people being displaced by development and rising prices in Miami-Dade. Pending before the city are proposals for towers, one rising to 53 stories, totaling more than 680,000 square feet of office space and 3,900 condo, rental or hotel units.
“People are ready to invest,” says Hallandale Mayor Joy Cooper. Property values were up 7.66% in the last year. Counting the value of new construction, values increased 10. 58% in Hallandale in the last year, one of only three cities in Broward to see an increase of more than 10%.
Development also has been driven by a change in the city’s approach to project approvals. Hallandale in recent years adopted “form-based code” rather than conventional zoning based on uses. The change gives investors and developers — and the city and its residents — a streamlined approval process and certainty about the scale of buildings that can be built on certain-sized pieces of property.
“It’s an excellent location. Demographics are great,” says Florida East Coast Senior Vice President Phil Dahan of his company’s project. “We see the rental market as extremely strong.”
Innovation: Spinal Tap
Mechanical engineer Peter Harris came to the U. S. from South Africa 23 years ago and has worked for much of that time in the spinal implant industry. A startup brought him to south Florida in 2008. When it relocated to Utah, he stayed behind and eventually started his own spinal implant company, FloSpine. Harris says his company’s device advances the field because it’s modular and is adaptable for use in minimally invasive surgeries, and for treating spinal deformities from scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. Housed at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, the four-person company is breaking even, he says, after shipping its first product in April 2015. First year sales totaled $656,000.
BOCA RATON — Consumer goods distributor Epoca International will add 17 jobs to its existing 23 after receiving state and local incentives. Its products include coffee and tea ware, beverage servers and cookware. The Florida Department of Health gave FAU biomedical scientist Jang Yen “John” Wu $1.2 million to develop an innovative stroke treatment. FAU will use the $11.4 million it received in state performance funds to enhance tech and academic support for students, offer more competitive scholarships for targeted students and develop programs to identify and help struggling students. The goal is to boost retention and graduation rates. The university also says it will use some of the money to recruit and retain top-notch faculty and to build prominence in the fields of healthy aging, neuroscience, ocean science, engineering/ environmental sciences and sensing and smart systems.
BOYNTON BEACH — SouthTech Academy Adult Education and Associated Builders and Contractors partnered to provide a pre-apprentice program track leading to an apprentice program in plumbing, electrical work, HVAC and other construction trades.
DAVIE — The state Agency for Health Care Administration approved HCA East Florida’s request to move its Plantation General Hospital to Nova Southeastern University’s campus, where HCA will build a new hospital. Nova hosts two medical schools but has no hospital on its site. HCA will relocate 200 of its 254 licensed beds from Plantation, where it will keep an ER. HCA built a free-standing ER on the site of the new hospital in 2015.
HOLLYWOOD — Federal authorities charged prominent attorney Alan Koslow, 62, and Susan Mohr, 57, of Delray Beach with conspiracy to commit money laundering following an FBI sting. Authorities say Koslow and Mohr agreed to help undercover FBI agents launder money from a fictitious illegal gambling business and from the sale of narcotics and counterfeit Viagra in return for a 5% fee. The alleged activity didn’t involve Koslow’s firm, Becker & Poliakoff. Koslow and Mohr have pleaded not guilty.
MANGONIA PARK — Apparel and textile company Ramatax International will hire 20 after relocating from New Jersey.
PALM BEACH GARDENS — United Technologies broke ground on the headquarters and product showcase for its Climate Controls and Security division, a $115-million development expected to create 380 jobs. It paid $17.25 million for a site at I-95 and Donald Ross Road and will receive $10.56 million in government incentives for creating high-wage jobs at its Center for Intelligent Buildings, where its Carrier, Otis, Automated Logic and Chubb brands will be showcased.
PORT ST. LUCIE — A federal bankruptcy court judge approved having insurers for Digital Domain, the failed entertainment company brought to the city by millions of dollars in incentives, pay roughly $3 million each to the city and state. The decision was part of a global settlement for company creditors. The settlement reduces by $8.5 million the amount of a loan that former CEO John Textor took out, using a Colorado property as collateral. Digital Domain got $20 million in incentives from the state and $52 million locally. The city still owes millions on the company studio, which it sold to a church.
VERO BEACH — The city listed the 35-acre Dodgertown Golf Course for sale.
WELLINGTON — Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose daughter is an equestrian, purchased more property on the street where he has had a seasonal home since 2013.
Florida Atlantic University hired Randy D. Blakely as executive director of its newly formed FAU Brain Institute. He formerly held an endowed professorship at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he was director of its neuroscience research center. Randy Blakely Gulfstream Point in Hallandale Beach will have 300 apartment units.
Iowa-based general contractor Weitz promoted engineer, general contractor and Florida Operations Vice President Jim Wells to executive vice president for the overall company. He will keep his Palm Beach County residence.